Journal Article

Density and Disasters: Economics of Urban Hazard Risk

Somik V. Lall and Uwe Deichmann

in The World Bank Research Observer

Published on behalf of World Bank

Volume 27, issue 1, pages 74-105
Published in print February 2012 | ISSN: 0257-3032
Published online July 2010 | e-ISSN: 1564-6971 | DOI:
Density and Disasters: Economics of Urban Hazard Risk

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Today, 370 million people live in cities in earthquake prone areas and 310 million in cities with a high probability of tropical cyclones. By 2050 these numbers are likely to more than double, leading to a greater concentration of hazard risk in many of the world's cities. The authors discuss what sets hazard risk in urban areas apart, summarize estimates of valuation of hazard risk, and discuss implications for individual mitigation and public policy. The main conclusions are that urban agglomeration economies change the cost–benefit calculation of hazard mitigation; that good hazard management is first and foremost good general urban management; and that the public sector must perform better in promoting market-based risk reduction by generating and disseminating credible information on hazard risk in cities.

Keywords: Q54; R3; H41

Journal Article.  12102 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Development Planning and Policy

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